Thursday, June 28, 2018

love bites.

Three days into the school holidays and we've exhausted the Paul Naschy collection, bizarrely it wasn't the werewolf stuff the kids enjoyed but Count Dracula's Great Love so been desperately searching for any other vampire movies I own that may be kid friendly.

This one, it seems may not be.

Gayracula (1983).
Dir: Roger Earl.
Cast: Tim Kramer, Steve Collins, Rand Remington, Randal Butler, Michael Christopher, Ray Medina, Max Montoya, Doug Weston, Douglas Poston and Davin McNeil.

"You have done me a great service....
now I shall service you!"

Our dark tale of undead bloodlust begins with a group of robed and mysteriously seventies haired monks carrying a coffin thru' the California desert to a fairly inoffensive sub-Jerry Goldsmith Omen-esque score.

So far so so.

Entering a dark, dank cave our hooded pals force open the coffin to reveal a jug-eared young man in his granddad's tuxedo lying within.

As the lead monk Brian attempts to stake him thru' the heart our be-suited chum suddenly opens his eyes and sits upright before metamorphosing into a bat whilst filling the cave with what looks like eggy bad-dad gas.

As the monks shriek and scream in terror the bat - via a handy fishing wire and a big stick - flies to the cave entrance before reverting back to it's human form.

Naked apart from a cape, patent leather brogues and socks the monks can only cower in fear at the evil that is Gayracula.

Ladies and gentlemen....
live on stage....5ive!


Jump forward (backwards? sideways?) to the year is 1783  - well according to the dodgy Letraset font superimposed over a kids drawing of a Halloween castle it is - where the fantastically monikered Gaylord Young (The late Tim Kramer of California Jackoff fame), a courier for the legal firm of Crotchley, Bloomfield and Smythe (like it matters) has been dispatched to Transylvania to deliver a family heirloom to the mysteriously mustachioed Mark Shannon alike (and even more fantastically monikered) Marquis de Suede (Collins last seen in Falconhead Part II: The Maneaters).

Being so grateful for the personal touch of delivering the said artifact to his imposing castle by hand, de Suede offers Young a hot meal and a bed for the night.

Oh yes, and also insists on sucking the young man's huge throbbing member as if it were an oversized Chupa Chup before firing his own undead vampiric muck all over Young's lily-white arse and at the point of climax biting him on the neck.

All in gloriously over-lit clinical colour.

Which reminds me, how is your dad?

The year they invented Crayola obviously.


Waking the next morning to a head full of red and an arse like a sugared doughnut, poor Gaylord stumbles over to the mirror to examine his neck only to see not his own reflection but the face of de Suede laughing maniacally at him before the mirror explodes in a shower of sharp pointy shards.

The curse of the vampire has been passed to a new victim.

Gaylord Young, legal eagle is no more.

He has become the king of the undead.

Something less than human but with a cock the size of a newborn baby.

A very muscley new born baby.

With shotputters arms.

Which is a plus point if you think about it.

Your Dads works night out.




Suddenly (and without so much as a warning or even a crudely crayoned flashframe) we're transported to 'modern day' Los Angeles, where Boris the manservant (allegedly some bloke named Rand Remington but frankly I'm convinced is Tom Savini) and Geoff the delivery boy (Christopher last seen in the 1991 erotic thriller Fade In, an undiscovered classic that featured gay half-men, half-spiders who devour their sexual partners after trapping them in webs of sticky cum...seriously) are busy decorating a huge mansion ready for the new owner to move in.

Worn out after carrying a big wooden coffin into the lounge Geoff has to rest for a while but luckily Boris appears to be a trained sports therapist and offers to massage his stiff shoulders.

With his penis.

Obviously.

Geoff, grateful for the help notices that Boris looks uncomfortable sitting on a rough wooden box so, assuming his bottom must be getting a wee bit sore offers to massage that in return.

Boris agrees and the two men indulge themselves in a bout of manly massage.

It was at this point I realised that this may not be, in fact, a 'proper' vampire film.


"Tonight Matthew I'm going to be...
Gary Barlow!"


All this excitement, groaning and testosterone (not to mention the copious amounts of semen dripping into his coffin) is enough to wake Gaylord from his slumber.

Having been asleep for 200 hundred years tho' he's rather peckish and makes short work of poor Geoff's bum draining every speck of blood from his body.

And now Gaylord, rested and fed can begin to explore his new home.

Your dad, working late at the office last night.


And it's whilst taking in the LA sights (as well as taking a few other things in obviously) that Gaylord discovers that the Marquis de Suede is still alive - posing as an agent and running an all male dance troupe in a theatre just off Hollywood Boulevard.

And you guessed it our vampiric chum and the Marquis have some unfinished business to attend to.

Revenge for turning Gaylord into a vampire?

A battle to the death to decide who is the king of the undead?

Or is it that Gaylord just can't get enough of the Marquis' ungodly shaft?

Go on, guess.

"Flames in mah mooth!"

Arriving at rehearsals and given a front row seat - alongside a key to the mysterious 'backroom' - by the Marquis, Gaylord's sex plans are thrown into disarray when he comes across (not literally, well not yet) the young, virginal Gavin (McNeil star of Malibu Days Big Bear Nights), a waiter at the theatre and falls instantly and hopelessly in love with him.

Using his powers of persuasion to entice Gavin to his home the pair make beautiful (well sticky and sweaty) love together and, as Gavin falls asleep in Gaylord's arms, the vampire vows never to suck the young boys blood and to only indulge in rimming on a Tuesday.

Aw, ain't love sweet?

Abstaining from blood drinking tho' leaves Gaylord weakened and stumbling thru' the streets in a daze and it's only thru' sheer luck that he manages across the local bloodbank where, as is usually the way with these things, the hunky doctor is far too busy sodomising one of the (even hunkier) patients to notice our hero draining the blood supply dry.

Returning home Gaylord vows to tell Gavin the truth about his unusual affliction.

But will their love survive?

"Put it in me!"

Three cheers for Roger Earl for producing a vampire movie with all the passion, romance, horror and copious scenes of buggery sadly missing from such big budget offerings as Bram Stoker's Dracula, Twilight and the like.

It's micro-budget never once compromises Earl's vision and tho' he may have had to incorporate props and sets left over from the arse end of the seventies (cracked and wobbly disco balls, silver clad dance 'numbers' and a couple of unfortunate mustaches) he stays true to his aim of producing a film that not only delves deep into vampire lore whilst dealing with the universal issues of love and belonging but also manages to feature the most varied and frankly disturbing scenes of fucking, rimming, sucking and cupping I have ever seen.

And for this reason alone I take my hat off to him.

Who am I to judge tho?





 They may be smiling now but just wait till the fisting starts.





Earl may have just been making a low budget gay porn film and not realised the truly heart warming effect it would have on viewers so felt it my duty to spread the word.

To this end I invited my next door neighbours 14 year old Twilight fan daughter Agnes to watch it with me and she was left crying and shaking with emotion as the tender love story played out in front of her*.

Something I'm sure Robert Pattinson has never manage to do with his big square face and glittering shite.

I've not seen her since but when I do I'm sure she'll thank me for sharing the experience with her.

As will you after viewing this lost classic.































*only joking.**






























































**Or am I?


stab, cackle and pop (music).

Been tidying up the cupboard recently and quite by accident came across this beauty.

I'd actually totally forgotten about due - I reckon - to it being so brain leakingly bizarre in it's genius that I had to blank it from my mind for fear of falling into insanity.

I mean how else can you explain not remembering a film so utterly wrong (yet so utterly right that) that the first thing I did upon finding it was gluing the disc into my DVD player so that I can never watch anything else.

And if you need any more proof of its quality then know now that it won the 14th Fantafestival Fulci Award.

Who knew that a fizzy drink sponsored horror festivals?

So without further ado I give you:

Fatal Frames (AKA Fotogrammi mortali. 1996).
Dir: Al Festa.
Cast: Stefania Stella, Rick Gianasi, David Warbeck, Donald Pleasence, Leo Daniel, Alida Valli, Geoffrey Copleston, Linnea Quigley, Ugo Pagliai, Nina Soldano, Rossano Brazzi and Angus Scrimm.




"It's pure Madonna!"





It's after midnight in the blandly shot black and white house.

Somewhere on the second floor an unseen musician is riffing Danny Elfman's Batman score on a Bontempi organ whilst the Werthers Original Granddad, clad in a pair of huge tartan slippers and a silk dressing gown sits cracking off a quick one to big breasted snuff porn.

From a gap in the doorway a wee boy sits and watches the unfolding carnage before him.

Suddenly Granddad turns to face the child but rather than be angry he picks up the boy and sits him on his (damp and sticky) lap to enjoy the entertainment from the comfort of the armchair.

Cut to a gaudily lit street somewhere in Joel Schumacher's mind, where an 80's catalogue model is tastefully hacked to death by a black gloved, flasher jacketed killer.

Phew! and that's all in the pre-credits sequence.


"Fiona! Where's mah lunch?"



There's no time to relax tho' as we're soon thrust into the main plot where pumped up, lion maned 'pop music' video director Alex Ritt (Sgt.Kabukiman himself, the council estate Lorenzo Lamas, Gianasi) is reeling from the murder of his young wife - that'll be the bird we've just seen chopped up then - so has taken to moping around on rooftops looking windswept and interesting whilst a nondescript Europop score chunders in the background.

Hoping to cheer him up, horse-maned and buff chested music producer Dan Antonucci (Daniel, last seen propping up the bar in Gypsy Angel) invites him to Rome to direct a music video for the Italian equivalent of the late, great Pete Burns, the frankly fantastic Stefania Stella.

Relax guys (and gals) she's married.

To the director no less.

Hmmm, this is starting to make sense.

Arriving in Rome he's almost instantly abused (but not in that way unfortunately) by a tramp before being taken to meet a bequiffed, power suited man in a foggy warehouse to talk about Madonna's Like A Virgin video and meet Amy Whorehouse herself in all her augmented glory.

Looking for the world like the result of a hideous teleport accident between Sylvester Stallone and a cheap handbag, Stefania spends the whole scene squinting at a convenient autocue reading the phonetic English subtitles like a child just discovering the power of speech.

Wandering around the warehouse in all his preening glory Alex bumps into the bendy and boy haired Rebecca an American ballerina hired to work on the video.

His best chat up lines failing, it's not until she realises that Alex is the director - and can therefore give her more work - that she agrees to go out on a date with him that very evening.

Ding dong.


 
"Grrrraaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrr!"




Unfortunately the evenings entertainment is cut short when, after an excruciating ten minutes when Rebecca runs around a fog enshrouded castle re-enacting the Total Eclipse of The Heart video whilst shouting "Alex! Follow me!" she's cut up with a machete whilst director boy looks on in mild apathy.

Looking constipated whilst rubbing his hands thru' his thick luxurious hair Alex calls the police.

Sting however is busy (as is Stuart Copeland, no idea about the other bloke tho' - is he dead?) so he settles on Dishy David Warbeck (playing Commissioner Bonelli with a sarf London accent) instead.

When diddy David arrives however, there's no sign of either the killer or the victim and Alex, being brash, big boned and with hair like a Girls World is treated with the contempt he deserves as the Italian police point and laugh at him.

The laughing soon stops however when a video of the murder arrives on Warbeck's doorstep (that'd be a great name for a band) leaving David no alternative but to call Donald Pleasence (as top crafty killer catcher Professor Robinson) on the phone as it seems the video tape has triggered a memory in the depths of Warbeck's mind.

And no, it's not of him chaining a young boy to the radiator whilst sending electric shocks thru' his erect nipples.

Pulling a dusty file from behind the filing cabinet Commissioner Bonelli begins to explain how an evil American serial killer, nicknamed the video tape recording murderer who sends cassettes of his victims to the police to taunt them had exactly the same M.O. but mysteriously disappeared before he could be caught.

The most interesting fact tho' is that Alex's wife was the last victim.


Warbeck's cum face
(as your Dad is all too aware).



Wanting to cheer poor Alex up Stefania and Dan reckon a visit to the local psychic's house where he can - if he's lucky talk to the dead girl - should do the trick so the trio head out to the creepy mansion belonging to the spooky (and blind, you can tell by her outfit) Countess Alessandra Mirafiori (Suspiria's Valli) where a rather pretentious dinner party cum New Romantic tribute night is taking place.

After enduring a nonsensical conversation about how the blind can truly see everything (alright then, if there are any blind readers here how many fingers am I holding up?), Stefania takes Alex to meet the mysterious medium Tamara (the bullet nippled, beauteous bummed star of Tinto Brass's Paprika, Soldano) who without warning manifests the ghost of Rebecca who starts screaming "You did it you lank haired bastard!" (or something like that) at Alex.

Storming out of the house in a huff (stopping only to watch what looks like an AIDS ridden Timothy Dalton burning a child's painting of a house) Alex ends up wandering the (blue light lit, smoke filled) streets with the pained expression of a kicked puppy (or someone desperately trying to remember his lines), his contemplation broken only by the pounding bass-line of his mobile phone ringtone.

It's the lovely Tamara calling and she wants Alex to meet her at a(nother) castle, she has important information for our director pal.

And hopefully the name of a good barber.

You can tell where this is heading can't you?


Even the thought of a titwank would kill you.




On arriving at this castle (not Roy)  Alex can only stand and look on in abject terror (well, he tries bless him) as the only attractive member of the cast is cut to pieces in front of him.

Running to find a policeman it's no surprise to find the body gone when they return to the alleged scene of the crime.

But that's not the only freaky disappearance.

It seems that poor old Donald Pleasence has died in the extended break between acquiring extra funding and the actual filming but not to worry as we're treated to an unknown actor in a phonebox wearing a cut out Donald mask telling Commissioner Bonelli that he'd love to help with the inquiry but he has to go home for his tea.

Bonelli has no option but to call on bad bastard copper Valenti (The Red Queen Kills 7 Times star Pagliai) whose interview techniques seem to be turning up whenever there's a video shoot cum song from Ms. Stefania (which is averaging about every ten minutes) and shouting at Alex whilst reminding him that is wife is dead.


 
Insert cock here. No really please do it,
it'll save us from her ungodly singing.



Alex, beginning to feel his grasp on reality drifting away does what anyone in that situation would.

That's right, he goes out and gets rip-roaringly drunk.

Fantastic.

And it's whilst he's propping up the bar (with Dan and Stefania looking on like concerned parents) that he accidentally pours a pint of warm, watered down lager over eminent parapsychologist Wendy Williams (original gore whore Quigley playing a scientist, yes that's right, a scientist!) who tells our staggering hero that it is, in fact, scientifically possible to contact the dead and find out who killed them.

With a burp and a shuffle Alex passes out.

Will he discover the identity of the murderer?

Will Stefania put on any clothes?

Can you ever have enough  sub-Sabrina Salerno Eurotrash tunes in one movie?

And, most importantly how does all this link to a mysterious painting and the artist (Scrimm) who refuses to stay dead?

Well unfortunately I've no idea cos I fell asleep just after this scene, tho' I woke up about five minutes from the end so I have a pretty good idea of who the killer is.

 
Or here if you prefer.



What can you say about Fatal Frames that hasn't been said before by folk much more intelligent - and eloquent - than me?*

It can only be described as the real reason for the invention of cinema in the first place, one of those movies that totally destroys what we describe as good cinema, brutally buggering our expectations of the Giallo genre before coldly slicing those same expectations and conventions up before hastily stitching them back together and wiring them to the front of a junior school.

Director Festa (best known for composing the song 'Living After Death' for the Zombie 4: After Death soundtrack, now that's a claim to fame) has managed the impossible with Fatal Frames; he's created something so crass, so ludicrous and so obviously unwatchable yet managed to make it totally unmissable.

This is celluloid equivalent of turning lead into gold and no-one before or since has come close to re-creating this magic.


"Which of you guys is up for
a wee bit o' mooth shite-in?"




There's precious little else I can say, I mean the cast is full of the type of A-list talent you just couldn't afford today (tho' the fact that quite a few of them are dead might make it difficult too), with everyone from Almost Bond David Warbeck and elder statesmen of cult Donald Pleasence and Rossano Brazzi, who knowing that this was the greatest films of their careers died soon after rather than appear in anything less perfect again.

Now that's the kind of dedication you wont get from Matt Damon.

And talking of dedication, look at Stefania Stella (tho' not for too long obviously for fear of covering the house in joy jism) who not only co-wrote and produced the film but also volunteered to play the lead character and perform all the songs on the soundtrack.

Whilst soaking wet in her undies.

Who else can you name that could do all that?

My friends there is a god.

And his name is Al Festa.

Worship him.

Or at the very least give him a playful slap if you ever meet him.








































*Especially the wonderful Rachael over at Hypnotic Crescendos. Seriously check out her blog, it's pretty bloody brilliant.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

monkey trouble.

It's the school holidays so the podlings are choosing the movies around here for the next 6 weeks.

Luckily today they chose probably THE best monkey/wolf/crocodile-based beat 'em up released this year.

Rampage (2018).
Dir: Brad Peyton.
Dwayne Johnson, Naomie Harris, Malin Åkerman, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Jake Lacy, Joe Manganiello, Marley Shelton, P. J. Byrne, Demetrius Grosse and
Breanne Hill.




"...Of course the wolf can fly!"



Somewhere in Earth's orbit spacelab Athena-1, a research facility owned by the junior Umbrella Corporation Energyne, is on fire and falling to bits due in part to the mutated lab rat named Larry, who's escaped from his cage looking for snacks.

Stuck in the middle of all this mayhem is Dr. Kerry Atkins (Warriors of Virtue's Princess Elysia and Planet Terror's Dr. Dakota Block Shelton) who is desperately trying to secure some highly important Thermos flasks full of science-y stuff before the whole place explodes.

Which it does in spectacular fashion just as she reaches a handy escape pod which unfortunately too explodes sending the flasks hurtling to Earth.

And it's on Earth - or more precisely at a San Diego wildlife preserve -
where we meet ex-US Army Special Forces tough guy, UN anti-poaching officer and part-time primatologist Davis Okoye (Johnson) and his best friend, a rare albino gorilla named George whom he saved from pesky poachers when he was just a baby.

The gorilla that is, tho' I'm sure Dwayne Johnson was a baby too once.

After some basic character stuff and some Mr Tumble style comic signing Davis heads home for the night so misses the point where one of the space-based canisters crashes into George's enclosure spraying him with a noxious green gas.

Meanwhile the remaining flasks crash to Earth landing in the Everglades, where it's scoffed by a hungry crocodile and a Wyoming forest where a lands on a sleeping gray wolf.

Hmmm....I forsee trouble.

And maybe a wee bit of rampaging.

"Shite in mah massive monkey mooth ya green-gilled bastard!"


The next day Davis and co. are fairly surprised to find that poor George has grown to over twice his normal size, killed a grizzly bear in a fit of pique and is now hiding in a cave covered in snot and tears.

Which is nice.

As Davis waves his arms about trying to find out what the hell is happening who should turn up but genetic engineer and plot exposition expert Dr. Kate Caldwell (Ms Moneypenny herself, Harris), who helpfully explains that the gas that George has come into contact with was developed by Energyne in order to rewrite a creatures genes, she developed it in order to cure her brothers ingrowing toenail and bunions but Energyne - being a huge multinational company and therefore evil - have perverted her research and weaponised it.

The companies owners, the resting bitch faced Claire Wyden and her Donald Trump Jr. like brother Brett (ex Famous Monsters editor and Watchmen's Silk Spectre Åkerman and ball-faced Lacy from The Office) upon discovering she was about to spill the beans (tho' not alas slowly over her silky smooth thighs) got her sent to prison and discredited before continuing the research.

Bastards.

George, hungry for bananas and bored with all this chat escapes only to be quickly captured by a team of covert government agents led by the twangy  Agent Harvey Russell (The Walking Dead's Morgan) who pops the sleeping chimp on a plane bound for a secret base of something.

Honestly if they don't care why should i?

Meanwhile, Claire and Brett have hired a hit squad of mercenaries to find and capture the wolf, which has now mutated to giant size and is going by the name of Ralph.

No, really.

"Laugh now!"


Nothing about this plot thread matters tho' as the mercenaries are quickly dispatched giving us much more time to witness Davis signing to George and telling us how animals are nicer than people whilst a giant wolf makes it's way across mainland USA killing people.

He really didn't think that one thru' did he?

With the death of her private army Claire falls back on plan B, which involves capturing Ralph and and George then hoping one of them will kill Kate therefore keeping their secret experiments um, secret.

To this end they rig a huge transmitter atop their offices in order to lure the animals to Chicago.

Yup it seems that as well as having super strength and giganticness genes the animals have also been cunningly engineered to respond aggressively to a certain sound frequency.

Seems legit.

No sooner have they switched on the transmitter than George goes mental* and crashes the plane - tho' luckily Davis, Kate, and Russell manage to parachute to safety which acts as a bonding experience for the two tough guys who then vow to help each other save George and bring down the bad guys.

And girl.

No caption needed.




By this time George is miles away and heading for a showdown (and a bitchslap) with Ralph in downtown Chicago.

And as someone who's been there I can safely say it's no great loss.

Arriving at a military base for no other reason that to show how incompetent and trigger happy the army are, Davis and Kate convince Russell - who has gone from wise-cracking cowboy arsehole to wise cracking cowboy hero - to help them steal a helicopter (which Davis can fly obviously)so that they can arrive in Chicago before George and maybe even grab a bite to eat before the building throwing starts.

Unfortunately due to Trump's travel ban they get stuck in customs touching down just as George and Ralph begin their big bash attack.

With the military overwhelmed and outmaneuvered by a large CGI chimp and a dog puppet Davis and Kate valiantly attempt to make it to the Energyne building in order to steal a vaccine for George and save our monkey mate their journey is hampered by the surprise appearance of the mutated crocodile (named Lizzie) from earlier.

Much computer generated mayhem ensues as the terrifying trio begin throwing lumps of skyscraper at each other as the wolf flies around trying to each fighter planes.

Which begs the question, if Ralph has grown wings and can fire quills from his back and Lizzie has sprouted horns and a frilly neck thing, why George does nothing except change size dramatically between scenes.

He could at least have a massive mutant wang to beat folk with.

Or grown an extra head.

It's almost as if the film features no real science at all.

But at this point who gives a fuck cos the airforce have launched a big shiny stealth bomber and plan to level Chicago with a massive bomb.

Fuck yeah.



"Spice Girls number one for Christmas.....MONSTA!"




Meanwhile at Energyne our heroes easily manage to procure a few vials of the antidote but in order to ramp up the excitement level are caught by Claire and Brett.

Well by Claire actually as Brett's main characterisation appears to be sweating and twitching whilst wearing a blouson jacket that not even Timothy Dalton would be seen dead in but them the breaks I guess.

As a plus point Jake Lacy is considerably less punchable than his slightly more famous lookalike Matthew Lillard so it's a win all round really.

As she sinisterly - and it has to be said quite sexily -  reveals that the serum only eliminates the animals' aggression rather than revert them back to their normal size - or in George's case whatever size suits the scene.

Taking the vaccine, Claire shoots Davis in order to show what a thoroughly bad girl she is but luckily with Dwayne Johnson being constructed entirely from 100% ham he survives so she decides to just leave the pair where they are and escape by helicopter which is kept on the roof.

The same roof that houses the transmitter.

You remember the one the beasts are after.

I foresee trouble.

Malin Åkerman in a scene obviously cut from the movie.



As Davis and Kate attempt to catch up with the dirty dealing duo our science-type pal informs Davis that she secretly hid a vial of vaccine just in case the situation arises where she can pop it into Claire's bag and feed her to George, laughing at the thought of such a thing happening they continue to the roof where the aforementioned monkey is busy beating a wolf around the head with the helicopter.

With her only means of escape currently being waved around by an angry simian, Claire forces Davis to distract his hairy pal (George not Kate obviously)  while she attempts to sneak into the helicopter dressed as a banana but being resourceful Kate does indeed sneakily pop the vial into Claire's handbag and pushes her towards George, who swallows Claire her whole.

You'd think he'd spit that bit out tho'.

With George returning to his senses Davis hurriedly explains the situation to him and the by now far less angry ape agrees to help the humans but the airstrike is still incoming and preparing to blow the city to bits.

Will George defeat the bad beasts before making an inappropriate sex-based sign language joke?

Will Jeffrey Dean Morgan's character actually do anything other than spout chocolate box platitudes like some PC be-suited Roy Rogers on Valium?

Will the world's love of Dwayne Johnson (and it's ability to forgive him every shite film he ever makes) ever end?

 Will I actually remove the pole from my arse and admit to actually lapping this film up?




Let me start by admitting that I'm a sucker for a giant monster movie - especially one based on one of my fave arcade games (a game which, I admit I still occasionally play) so when they announced that they were adapting Rampage for the big screen - and featuring everyone's fave beefcake Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson no less - I'll admit I was a wee bit excited.


And that excitement literally doubled when I discovered that the director attached to the project was Brad Peyton, the man behind not only the criminally underrated Cats And Dogs sequel Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore (a film that is on an almost constant loop in our house thanks to young master Cassidy) but also the retro-style disaster flick San Andreas (which also features Dwayne Johnson, helicopters and one of the Watchmen cast - is there a pattern forming?) and introduced the world to the spooky charms of Nadia Litz in his short film Evelyn: The Cutest Evil Dead Girl.

Seriously why hasn't this guy won an Oscar yet? - or at least one of those well done certificates they give school kids.

Or even an 'I am special' badge.**


"I'm not a real welder!"



But - I hear you cry -  enough of the Brad Peyton love-in, is Rampage any good?

Well quite frankly yes.

It's a work of genius that is so meta in its almost perfect pastiche of dumb as nuts 80s action movies that it could actually be mistaken for genuinely wanting to be one.

It's terrifyingly predictable to a point of almost becoming a Mel Brooks style piss-take of the genre and it knows it but unlike most other movies of its ilk Rampage doesn't actually give a fuck - it just cares about how much giant monster-based destruction it can throw at the screen and how many times it can have Dwayne Johnson signing "Are you OK buddy?" at a CGI albino monkey whilst looking vaguely concerned.***

It even has a message of sorts about man being the real monsters tho' this is slightly less convincing when it's offset with footage of a huge horned crocodile eating people whilst a wolf the size of a bus bites a helicopter.

Plus it features the worlds most popular actor Dwayne Johnson wearing a tight 'muscle' top going around hitting people whilst still having a caring, sharing side that appeals to men and woman (and gorillas) alike.

And if that's not enough at one point he tries to kill a flying wolf with a bazooka.

Essential viewing.





























































*Please note how I resisted putting that he went apeshit. You're welcome.















**The campaign starts here.




















***The answer is 24 times by the way.

skay with me.

Celebrating summer (finally) with the star of Bay of Blood, Brigitte Skay's hit single....the toe-tapping Weil ich so sexy bin.

Enjoy! 

Sunday, June 24, 2018

coke zero.


With Velvet Glove, Iron Fist: The Female Protagonist in Contemporary Fantastic Cinema hitting Amazon this week I reckoned it'd be churlish if I didn't mention the fact that writer Andy Ross' previous opus DEAD FUNNY : THE RISE OF THE ZOM-COM is still available also.

Celebrating 30 years of the zombie-themed comedy, it re-traces the path that led to Edgar Wright's benchmark 2004 production, Shaun Of The Dead and features overviews of such classics as Return Of The Living Dead, BrainDead, Bio-Zombie, amongst others.

It's well worth a read and not just because I contributed a couple of reviews and pictures.

Tho' there is that.

Still not convinced?

Well as an added incentive here's a sneaky peek with a look at the piece I wrote for it concerning quite possibly THE greatest Jet Rock 'N' Roll film ever made.

Ladies and gentlemen (and all those in between) I give you.....

Wild Zero (1999).
Dir: Tetsuro Takeuchi
Cast:  Guitar Wolf, Drum Wolf, Billy Bass Wolf, Masashi Endô ,Makoto Inamiya, Sato Masao, Namiki Shiro, Kwancharu Shitichai, Nakajo Haruka and Morishita Yoshiyuki.


“Love has no borders, nationalities or genders! DO IT!”




The world's greatest Jet Rock 'N' Roll band, the frankly fantastic Guitar Wolf (Guitar Wolf, the late great Billy Bass Wolf and Drum Wolf - basically the holy trinity of Rock 'n' Roll greatness) have just finished playing a gig for the sinister shorted, pudding bowl haired, Karaoke obsessed 'Captain' (Inamiya from Zero Woman Returns) who being a bad man is refusing to pay our hard rockin' heroes on account of them stepping in when he was beating up a drugged lady a few scenes earlier.



Before the situation can escalate into mindless violence tho' (well just yet) the bands number one fan, the high haired Ace (Transformers: Beast Wars Metals Endô), stumbles into the office to ask for their autographs which gives the band time to pull out their guns and shoot their way out of the place.



As a thank you, the band's enigmatic front man, also named Guitar Wolf first becomes blood brothers with Ace before giving him a mysterious whistle which will alert the band if ever he needs their help.



And to think all I got last time I saw them live was a push to the ground when I tried to get my live DVD signed.



Rock 'N' Roll eh?


キャプテン私のキャプテン





And with that (and a loud howl obviously) the band disappear into the night.



The next day as Ace is heading to the next gig on his trusty moped mibding his own business when he realizes that he needs petrol. Being a do-gooding reluctant hero type it'll come as no surprise that when he's queuing to pay (and buy a Snickers for the journey he manages to inadvertently foil a robbery but also save the sweetly naive (obvious) runaway Tobio (the pixie-like Shitichai) in the process.



Obviously it's love at first sight.



Or it would be if Ace wasn't late to see his heroes.



So blowing Tobio a kiss Ace heads off to the concert leaving his true love to hitch-hike home.



Or to wherever she's heading.



Which is straight into our hearts obviously.




Across town the Captain's men are out looking for Guitar Wolf but instead of finding of musical maestros they come across (not in that way) a gaggle of recently reanimated corpses out for flesh.



It appears that the dead are rising, intent on devouring the living and no-one is safe as Ace himself finds out when he runs across a group of zombies feasting on an ice cream man in the middle of the road.



Realizing that Tobio is defenseless and alone Ace hurriedly heads back to the gas station to save her.



Meanwhile the Captain is busying himself auditioning wee girls in Sailor Moon outfits to sing at his Karaoke bar.



Which is fair enough I guess.


私はゾンビがあなたに穴を食べると聞いた....彼らはそれを吐き出すかもしれないが!

If at this point you, like me were wondering what happened to the would-be robbers from earlier then fear not as we're soon back with them as they too fight against zombies, group politics and their own feelings for each other before teaming up with a tattooed, Burberry clad hitwoman (don't ask) in a Humvee and trying to find a safe place to hold out till help arrives.



Which after some broomhandle vs zombie action is what Tobio and Ace find themselves doing, hiding as they are in a deserted basement.



Overwhelmed by his feelings Ace opens his heart to Tobio and explains that  finding his one true love under such bizarre and deadly circumstances has strengthened his belief in faith and humanity before swearing his undying devotion to Her.



Overcome by such and outpouring of love Tobio tells Ace that she loves him too but has a secret she must share.



It appears that Tobio is, in fact, a man.



Given his already slightly stressed demeanor, this news sends Ace over the edge and he storms of in a confused huff and boards himself up in a cupboard.



It's always darkest 'fore the dawn and the light that brightens this situation is a ghostly appearance from Guitar Wolf himself.



Explaing the situation to his hero Ace is soon brought to his senses by possibly the greatest speech regarding love and tolerance ever committed to celluloid as Guitar Wolf announces:






Beautiful.



Picking up a handy crow bar Ace screams out for Tobio as he heads off to save her.



Again.



Guitar Wolf meanwhile have problems of their own to deal with as the Captain angry at his minions incompetence has decided to take matters into his own hands and whilst using various members of the undead as (in)human shields is currently firing a grenade launcher at random objects in the hope of finding the band and destroying them.



I bet Bucks Fizz never had this trouble post Eurovision.



私が私を道に踏み出させたとき
私は乗るつもりです、乗る、乗るつもりです!
私が私を道に踏み出させたとき
私は乗るつもりです、乗る、乗るつもりです!
私が私を道に踏み出させたとき
誰もどこに行くべきか教えてくれませんか?いいえ!
私が私を道に踏み出させたとき
私は乗る、乗る、乗る、乗る、乗るつもりだ!
As the captain causes more and more property damage and loss of bladder control he hones in on an abandoned apartment block unleashing his entire explosive load into the building in one last attempt to crush the band.



Imagine his (and our) surprise then as out of the burning chaos leaps an unharmed Guitar Wolf , dropping to his knees and retuning his guitar as he lands before letting rip with some killer riffs.



Genius.



So the stage is set for a climactic battle between the forces of rock and rubbish fashions as the pair go head to head in a fight to the death.



As guns give way to fists our hero is fairly surprised when the Captain mutates into a bald super-powered mutant with laser eyes but just as Guitar Wolf looks about to be beaten Billy and Drum Wolf turn up with a handy bazooka, blowing the Captain to (ickle biddy) bits.

Phew.

Well it would be if suddenly from nowhere a fleet of UFO's didn't appear intent on destroying/enslaving the Earth......






A triumph of style, wit and substance over budgetary constraints, director Tetsuro Takeuchi's ode to true love, rock 'n' roll and high, high hair is quite possibly the greatest ever made.



Fact.



And whilst the audience may be drawn to the promise of zombies, aliens and rock 'n' roll the films true heart belongs to Ace and Tobio and the finest onscreen love story since Tony and Maria in West Side Story.



Tho' if I'm honest The Jets could probably give Guitar Wolf a run for their money if cornered.



And what of Japan's self proclaimed 'Greatest Jet Rock 'N' Roll Band'?



Well they're the leather clad, self deprecating glue that holds the whole thing together, part Elvis, part superhero team and all rock gods it's rare to see a bands energy and excitement actually captured on film so perfectly, artfully blurring the fine line 'tween reality and rocktastic fiction.


小さなギターのオオカミや巨人の足?



But for all the leather clad macho posturing and killer guitar breaks it's the love story at the films centre that really stands out.



Remember this film is from 1999 way before transgender issues were being discussed let alone accepted and whilst many films at the time would have gone for cheap comedy cock comments and double takes Wild Zero handles it in a genuinely touching way, skipping over any issues or fears Ace may have with Guitar Wolf's frankly magnificent speech on the subject.



Referencing everything from Night Of The Living Dead to Mars Attacks! via the very best rollicking Rockabilly-fueled tunes Wild Zero is as unique as Ace's quiff is high and the world is a better place for it.



Complete and utter fun-filled genius and I love it.



And so should you.



ROCK 'N' ROLL!!!!!!



mystery train.

Cassidy has rediscovered the joys of Thomas The Tank Engine so been searching online for some stuff he may not have...




Obviously a review to follow (might take longer than normal seeing as we're fighting over who gets to type it).

Thursday, June 21, 2018

plug!

Velvet Glove, Iron Fist: The Female Protagonist in Contemporary Fantastic Cinema Available now from Amazon....featuring 34 brand new full colour illustrations by me and lots of really cool text from Andy Ross.....well worth a punt! Available as an E-Book too.

End of plug.





Wednesday, June 20, 2018

just because....

Here's English historian, author, curator, television presenter and Arena favourite Lucy Worsley in control of a nuclear missile launch site.

Enjoy.

 

Monday, June 11, 2018

licence to il.

On the eve of the historic - and hysteric - meeting 'tween the tango-tanned tin-pot Trump and the cheese-loving champion of triple chins Kim Jong-un I thought It time to reshare the frankly freaky tale of one of the world's greatest monster movies and probably the best thing to come out of North Korea since James Bond in Die Another Day..

I'd happily be the filling in this sandwich....tho' I'd be queuing behind Mike 'Penetrator' Pence.


And if there's only a little bit of truth in this tale then Trump's fucked.

Comrades, I give you...

Pulgasari (1985).
Dir: Shin Sang-ok, Chong Gon Jo and most probably Kim Jong-Il.
Cast: Chang Son Hui, Ham Gi Sop, Jong-uk Ri, Gwon Ri, Gyong-ae Yu, Brian Blessed (possibly) and Geoff Pulgasari as himself.


"I can't just sit here and cry all the time!"




The time is somewhere between 918 and 1391 AD (that's the Koryo Dynasty fact fans - who says this blog isn't educational?) and the evil bearded governor of the Korean province of, um, West Bromwich has decreed that all the iron in the area is to be confiscated and used to fashion all manner of pointy, sharp weapons.

Not for fashion weapons tho' that would be silly.

Pretty soon all the men folk are sick and tired of having to live off Pot Noodles and take-aways so decide the time is right to stage a revolution.

Right on!

Takse (Ri), the local blacksmith and calm man wanders around urging everyone to just get on with it and stop complaining but his bowl headed apprentice Inde (someone else) has other ideas and sets him self up as a self styled revolutionary leader.

After a couple of weeks of grumpy disagreements and interminable political rhetoric between the two friends, the governor decides to claim Taske's iron too and, surprise surprise the blacksmith then decides that maybe Inde had the right idea.

Takse's plan is stunning in it's simplicity; he gets up in the middle of the night and stashes all his iron under the bed before telling the governor's men that a legendary beast named Pulgasari (as himself) snuck in and ate it all during the night.

"Raugh Row!"





The governor, not being a small boy, thinks Takse's story is utter bollocks and promptly throws him in jail along with Inde and his stinky band of angry peasant followers.

Score one for justice and law abiding folk!

Not having any iron spare to make cutlery, microwave ovens or chairs means that the prisoners all end up sitting in their own shite on hard stone floors (probably catching piles) with nothing to eat but beetles, so Takse's two annoyingly twee children, Ami (Hui) and Ana (Ri, the other one listed, it's not like he plays two parts) decide to throw scraps of food to their father through the window of his cell.


"Ah fell aff mah beanstalk Ian!"



But rather than eat it (or even share it with the others the selfish bastard) Takse fashions the food into a little troll - like doll before dying of (you guessed it) starvation.

So far, so depressing.

Ami, being the favourite child (and having the less amusing haircut of the two) ends up inheriting the doll, carrying it around with her and occasionally chatting to it but one day whilst sewing a revolutionary bedspread accidentally cuts herself dripping blood all over it.

Frankly I'd slit my wrists if I was in her position too but that's neither her nor there because, believe it or not the blood causes the doll comes to life!

Not only that but it starts to eat any scraps of iron lying about!

Could this be the legendary left wing monster and hero of the people Geoff Pulgasari?

Um, yes.


Seems legit.



Geoff, thanks to a diet of old tin cans and spoons grows bigger and bigger (well big-ish, about the size of an average toddler) everyday and is soon ready for his first mission as an heroic communist kaiju, heading off to save Inde from the executioner's chopping block.

The daring (if not incredibly comically, seeing as the entire scene consists of watching a grown man with a stick on beard wrestle a stiff rubber doll) rescue is a success and Inde and his band of pikey layabouts head off to the mountains to hide.

Back home, Ami and Ana are busy celebrating the fact that a small child in a knobbly gimp suit is going to lead Korea and her people to freedom and how he will save them all from, um bad stuff.

Well, I've heard worse.

Time passes and Geoff is now the size of your average Korean stuntman in a suit and has begun to get those typical big monster kick arse urges, so he persuades the local farmers to start a fight with the kings men offering to help win the battle if he can eat all their swords and amour etc.

Which sounds an OK plan to me.

After a few more battles (well half a dozen folk in fake beards running at each other yelling "Aaaaiiieeehhh!") and a few more metal meals, the Pulgasari grows to a gigantic 100 feet tall.

Yet scarily still looks like a man in a mold covered gimp suit.


"I can see your house from here Peter."




Everything is going swimmingly until Korea's most evilly bearded general (Blessed) offers to take out Geoff and company.

It seems that General Brian has discovered Pulgasari's secret, that our big beast buddy must protect Ami at all costs.

A fact he plans to use to his advantage.

This ingenious plan involves kidnapping Ami whilst she's out collecting water for the rebels then tying her to a pole behind a big wooden shed (disguised as an all the metal you can eat buffet) so that when Pulgasari goes inside he can set fire to the beast.

The fact that our big boned pal is made entirely of metal (as opposed to bits of rotting food as you'd imagine) doesn't seem to worry Brian one bit.



"I'm fucking your mum!"



Which is probably why he looks more bored than shocked when Pulgasari start glowing white hot and with anyone who goes near him bursting into flames.

Never one to give up, General Blessed moves onto plan two (firing rockets at Geoff) and finally plan three (digging a big hole) but he can only watch in mild apathy as Pulgasari continues his journey toward the kings castle, stopping only to squash the aforementioned monarch under foot.


"Foot in mah mooth!"



Celebrating their freedom and the birth of a new socialist state the peasants prepare a huge banquet but the festivities are soon put on hold when they realize that poor old Pulgasari just can't just stop eating iron and it's not long before he too is demanding that everyone has to give him all their iron farming and cooking implements too.

Can you see what they've done there?

Luckily for the workers, Ana (being a girl and therefore untrustworthy) has been secretly getting advice from Bernard Majin, AKA Mr. Monster of Terror and he has a plan to defeat Pulgasari once and for all....



"Pulgasari, up the casino, Tenby, 1984....Yesch!"




Pulgasari is a film born out of legend and hearsay that is, quite possibly much more entertaining than the movie itself.

Directed (kind of) by famed South Korean director Shin San-Ok after he'd been kidnapped by the Northern regime on the direct orders of leader in waiting and well known monster movie fan Kim Jong-il, the director manage to escape a matter of weeks before it was completed leaving hack for hire Chong Gon Jo to finish the job.

All this became immaterial however when the illustrious leader realized that the completed film was utter pants from start to finish and refused to release it.

Which just goes to show that world dictators, whilst being well versed in crushing uprisings and keeping the workers under control, know next to nothing about what makes a great historical monster movie because Pulgasari, in my humble opinion is probably one of the greatest and most heart warming films ever made.

Walking that fine line between entertainment and historical drama, in much the same way as Schindler's List, Pulgasari may not be as rib-ticklingly funny as Spielberg's opus but it's a darn sight more factually accurate and miles more entertaining.

Frankly it's a must see, especially if you have any interest in world affairs, history, big rubber monster and 'the politics'.

Or comedy hats.